\ Young readers book *Seaglass Summer* by Anjali Banerjee - Curled Up With A Good Kid's Book
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*Seaglass Summer* by Anjali Banerjee- young readers fantasy book review
Seaglass Summer
by Anjali Banerjee
Ages 8-12 176 pages Wendy Lamb Books May 2010 Hardcover    

An enjoyable elementary school novel, Seaglass Summer features eleven-year-old Poppy, whose parents are visiting relatives in India while she spends the summer with her uncle on an island in the state of Washington.

Poppy has always longed for a pet and imagined a career as a veterinarian, but her mother has severe allergies, so she has had little experience with animals. Her uncle Sanjay is a veterinarian, so Poppy is happily anticipating her trip and envisions a wonderful summer working with animals.

Her trip to visit her uncle is less than idyllic, however. She misses her family, and as her uncle picks her up in an old truck, her suitcase falls out and everything falls into the mud. Later, in the office, she finds herself less than welcome with the office manager and struggling with the grubby work of cleaning up after animals.

Some of the details of her experience may be shocking to a young reader – especially the pickled testicles, a cat’s mummified fetus and the after-effects of garbage gut. Nevertheless, her uncle is kind and enthusiastic, and Poppy enjoys working with him. There are many instances where Poppy has the opportunity to help the most helpless animals, and even has to use her head and new knowledge to save her uncle’s dog in an emergency.

Appealing to children who love animals - especially wannabe veterinarians - this story is a realistic introduction to veterinary careers and respect for animals. The book is a relatively quick read, a good choice for reluctant readers. Although the details may distress younger readers, they are well-explained and presented in the context of a caring environment.

The cultural element is secondary to the plot but is important as Uncle Sanjay’s veterinary education and practice is undervalued by his family in India. Main characters with Indian heritage are underrepresented in children’s literature; Seaglass Summer is an excellent example of successful integration of racial diversity in children’s literature. There is also a theme of Eastern spiritualism with a “psychic” character which encourages Poppy to meditate with a piece of blue seaglass.

Overall, Anjali Banerjee has written a solid, realistic elementary novel which portrays a strong young girl who genuinely cares for animals.
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  Kristine Wildner/2010 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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